There is a term I learned in graduate school: twinship. This simply put means the search for commonalities in another. For instance, the bonding that might take place when you are far away from home and meet someone from the same area or when you share a poem you wrote about how much you hate beets after you discover your new girlfriend has written a song with the same theme. Twinship. I will come back to this.
The other night when we were out to dinner (we don’t really eat out that much), I had the experience of feeling really gay. I felt like I was wearing pride rings and a shirt that said “HEY! I am super gay!” I find that this feeling overtakes me sometimes since moving back to the south.
So, we are in this restaurant where we have been often and never had any issues and I suddenly felt like everyone was looking at us. I could almost hear their internal dialogues, “That poor child. I think those women are…dykes.” Of course no one said anything. People were probably actually thinking about how well behaved and beautiful my son is. At any rate, I got up to go to the salsa bar. As I was returning I noticed this big, white biker dude with black and gray tattoos all up and down his arms. In that moment, I knew that if I just found some twinship with him, common ground, he wouldn’t kill us or cause a scene.
“Your work is really nice,” I said on my way back to our table. “I made the mistake of getting full color tattoos. I like your black and gray so much more.”
The funny thing is, I like my full color tattoos. I pulled some bullshit out of my butt because I wanted that guy to think I thought he was better than me. Somehow, this made me feel safer and made me feel like I was protecting my family. Disingenuous twinship, but twinship just the same.
The whole way home, I kept thinking about how not only did that whole scene feel really forced, but it also made me feel a little bit dirty. I don’t like to lie. I never have. Today, three days later I am still wondering why I did it while that guy, who barely grunted when I paid him a false compliment, probably has no memory of me or that entire scenario. He was too caught up in his 3000 calorie plate of enchiladas.
It is a peculiar feeling, to feel like a flashing neon sign in a dark room. Peculiar, yet not too unfamiliar. I bet that dude with tattoos has felt the same way at some point.